Alright, Im ready to load.

Alright, Im ready to load.

This is a discussion on Alright, Im ready to load. within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Well Ive got my new Lee Anniversary set all ready to go. I have the .357-.38 4die set. I have read the first 12 chapters ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array wormy's Avatar
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    Alright, Im ready to load.

    Well Ive got my new Lee Anniversary set all ready to go. I have the .357-.38 4die set. I have read the first 12 chapters in the Lee manual twice. Last night I dreamed about pressure calculations in brass cartridges. I have a sub-stantial amount of brass. All I need is primers and bullets.

    Can you recommend a good starting load to do. Im thinking of buying a 1# bottle of Unique as it has loads listed for both .357 and .38. I also need bullets. I have a 50 buck gift certificate to Cabelas. I was thinking of the Hornady XTPs. They are like 17 bucks for a 100. Maybe to much bullet for shooting watermelons, but Cabelas didnt have any plain lead bullets. Also I may need a caliper. Should I worry about measureing the OAL of each load if I have new brass?

    Man I love this stuff and Ive not even loaded my first brass as of yet!
    Glock 22, 27 Gen 4
    Ruger SP101 .357mag
    S&W 637 Airweight
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  2. #2
    Member Array mauser1959's Avatar
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    Welcome to reloading , the most addicting thing besides shooting itself , sometimes even more so . I would get a caliper, though with the shells that you are shooting it is really not that big of an issue unless you really seat your bullets deep and are charging near the limits. I would try to get a bullet of the approximate same size and eye ball them , that is what I did for the first few years... and i used a good ruler ... I am a cheap grinch. I like Unique and bullseye both for most of my loads, but I will say that unique is probably suited best for beginners ... takes more powder per charge. Depending on the bullet weight and size is where you get your loads from, I happen to load everything with a 150 grain bullet , but that is because I have 3 moulds in that size , both a lyman and 2 lee 6 bangers. For .38s , I load about everything for that in about 3.5 grns, light enough load , still give a good bang... but it all depends on bullet weight and type ; lead vs HD, or HP clad . I hope that you find the art as fun as I have , and not near as frustrating as I have at times :) . It is a good idea to stay away from the 9mms in particular at first , but really all semi auto calibers are not as easy as a rimmed cartridge.
    A hand gun is like a fire extinguisher , I wish to use neither, but have both on hand in case of need ; both are personal protection devices that serve the same purpose . ie safety of you and your family.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Sounds like you should be good to go. Unique and the XTPs should give you a good starting point. Personally I prefer Blue Dot or 296 for 38/357, but I only load jacketed bullets and hot.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

  4. #4
    Member Array Ghuqu2's Avatar
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    Last time I was at Cabela's, they had Berry's bullets in 250 or rnd boxes for ok money. Not as cheap as buying on line, but you have a prepaid card.
    "The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us." Patrick Henry 1775

    Vegetarian: Indian for inept hunter.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I use either unique or Amer Select powder for 38/357,for plinking shoot lead much cheaper,calipers are needeed to adjust OAL,Expect a couple uhohs,I gotta pull almost 80 bullets due to the fact I was in a hurry and I forgot to hook the powder actuator rod up on my Dillon 550,If I can give you any advice learn this,when you start reloading after setting up your machine,when you get a progressive,the first couple rounds make sure have powder,no powder and they go pop instead of bang and then you will learn how to tap bullets outta barrels
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    Congrats! Unique is fine for starting out with the 38/357 in the light to mid range loads. I started with it 30 years ago and still use it some today. After you get some experience under your belt and want to heat things up, 2400 and 296 are both good for hotter loads. XTPs are good but there are lower priced options (I saw cheaper Remington JHP for quite a bit less at Cabellas). Buying all your components in bulk will be much cheaper still. Buy a caliper since you'll eventually need one if you stick with reloading, they don't cost much and if you decide to load bullets that don't have a crimp groove (like Berry's plated), you'll need one to get your OAL correct. Harbor Freight often has very good deals on calipers.

    Take your time and enjoy the effort. Let us know how your first range trip with reloads goes for you!
    Chose a weapon that goes bang EVERY time!

  7. #7
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    New to reloading myself, I'll offer a few suggestions. First - go slow! A single stage press helps in that regard since you're not watching over multiple events with each stroke of the press (as with a progressive).

    Next - get practice with your powder dispenser. If you work it too fast, your powder throws will vary. Too slow, and you're wasting time. When you're dialing in your specific charge weight, throw 3-5 charges and weigh each one. If you're filling dozens of cases at a time, weigh every 10th round or so to make sure the charge hasn't changed.

    Keep focused on what you're doing and don't allow distractions like phone calls or texts.

    Definitely get a dial caliper to measure cartridge OAL. Here again, once you're set up and cranking our rounds, check every tenth round or so to make sure the seating/crimping die hasn't wandered (which it may if you forget to use the die locking ring).

    Less important for revolvers, but if you're not using a case gage, check a few rounds and make sure they chamber OK in your gun's cylinder.

    Start with small batches and satisfy yourself they shoot OK before going into batch mode and cranking out hundreds of rounds.

    Good luck and enjoy!
    Smitty
    NRA Endowment Member

  8. #8
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    I never felt the need for calipers with .38/.357 because most bullets had a crimp ring and as long as the round wasn't too long for the cylinder to rotate, all was good. But, Harbor Freight calipers do work well. Be aware they have two models, one measures in .01s, the other in .001s. Get the .001" version.

    148 grn wadcutters are a nice target load for the .38s and only use around 3.0 grns of powder, depending on the brand used. Check Meisters and Missouri for lead bullets. Meisters offers 100 rd sample packs, so you can try differt weights/styles without investing in 500+ rds.

    Nothing like popping off your very first product of your handiwork!
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  9. #9
    Member Array mauser1959's Avatar
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    One other thing that most people do not mention, once you reload a bit , I would make an investment into a micro powder measure . I only got mine a few years ago, but I wish that I had spent the money up front . I love my RCBS powder measure , especially once i put on the micro powder measure on it . Once you figure out how to use the micrometer adjustment it is so easy to dial in a given powder, I think of of all the doo dads that I bought this has been the most impressive piece that i got. I do not know what kind of powder measure you got with your LEE , it might be like my old press with the terrible plates , but if it has a threaded adjustment, then consider the swap up.

    https://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduc...tNumber=654966
    A hand gun is like a fire extinguisher , I wish to use neither, but have both on hand in case of need ; both are personal protection devices that serve the same purpose . ie safety of you and your family.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array wormy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauser1959 View Post
    One other thing that most people do not mention, once you reload a bit , I would make an investment into a micro powder measure . I only got mine a few years ago, but I wish that I had spent the money up front . I love my RCBS powder measure , especially once i put on the micro powder measure on it . Once you figure out how to use the micrometer adjustment it is so easy to dial in a given powder, I think of of all the doo dads that I bought this has been the most impressive piece that i got. I do not know what kind of powder measure you got with your LEE , it might be like my old press with the terrible plates , but if it has a threaded adjustment, then consider the swap up.

    https://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduc...tNumber=654966
    Thanks for the info. The Lee kit comes with the Perfect Powder Measure.

    Lee Perfect Powder Measure - MidwayUSA
    Glock 22, 27 Gen 4
    Ruger SP101 .357mag
    S&W 637 Airweight
    Ruger Single Six
    Ruger Blackhawk Bisley 45 Colt
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